September 11, 2011 |
Dear Liz: I was laid off in November 2009. For the first year, I took the unemployment and tried to find a job without success. So, in late 2010, I started my own business, contracting mainly for employers for whom I used to work. Unfortunately, I am making about a third of what I used to make, and even after cutting expenses, there are months that I can't pay my bills. I have taken two withdrawals from my self-directed IRA this year. Is that the smartest thing to do? Or should I even out my cash flow by writing myself loans from my home equity line of credit?
December 18, 2011 |
Dear Liz: We are getting coaching from a finance advisor. He suggests using a home equity line of credit as investment capital. Your opinion on this? Answer: You're not dealing with a financial advisor who has your best interests at heart. You're dealing with a salesman who is mostly, if not solely, concerned about the commission he's going to earn from selling you an insurance or investment product should you take his unsound advice. Borrowing to invest is a risky strategy.
August 20, 2012 |
WASHINGTON - Hard economic times have helped push millions of Americans deeply into debt, plunging many into a dark world filled with relentless collection agents, aggressive lawyers and companies that profit mightily if they can get people to pay up. Aided by outdated laws and lax oversight, debt collection has become a $12-billion-a-year business as people increasingly have fallen behind on their bills for credit cards, student loans, hospital stays...
February 16, 2013 |
Bill Sepe has gotten used to rejection. The 28-year-old Rancho Cucamonga native has put in nearly 200 unsuccessful offers since August on Inland Empire homes, varying from typical suburban ranches to classic craftsman homes. All this anguish comes in pursuit of a modest home in the exurb of San Bernardino County, the epicenter of the Southern California housing crash. Plummeting values here sparked a vicious wave of foreclosures. But it's precisely because prices fell so far here that Sepe can't buy a house now. In a sharp irony, many would-be homeowners in hard-hit markets can't compete with a flood of all-cash offers from investors, some backed by Wall Street war chests.
January 18, 2013 |
A breach-of-contract suit filed against comedian Adam Carolla by three former business associates suggests that the new media world may not be all that different from old Hollywood. Producer Donny Misraje -- who claims to have persuaded the radio and television personality and longtime friend to use podcasts to reach his listeners -- filed suit against Carolla on Thursday in Superior Court in Los Angeles. Misraje is joined in the suit by his wife, Kathee Schneider-Misraje, a creative director, and Sandy Ganz, who helped rebuild and maintain websites for the company's podcasts and co-hosted a show, "CarCast," with Carolla. The trio allege Carolla failed to distribute their share of the profits in the podcasting business -- or even provide an accurate accounting of the books -- in violation of an oral partnership agreement.
September 25, 2011 |
Like a lot of middle-aged people these days, Nancy Lomen, 50, is thinking about retraining for a new career. What the San Gabriel resident and her husband, Bill, 64, are trying to figure out is whether a $60,000 investment in Nancy's education is a smart bet at their ages. They have two children, one in college and another who will be in college next year, and little in the way of retirement savings. "I've been thinking and dreaming about becoming a registered nurse midwife for a good 10 years," Nancy said.
August 19, 2012 |
Dear Liz: I co-signed some private student loans for my youngest child. She graduated two years ago with about $80,000 in student debt, including federal and private loans. Like many other recent graduates, she has had a difficult time finding a job. She worked part time at a retail store until about a month ago and made around $7,000 annually. I have been helping her make reduced payments and she has gotten deferments and income-based repayment plans. But I'm planning to retire in a few months and won't be able to make the payments as I have been.
March 1, 2008 |
JPMorgan Chase & Co. said in a regulatory filing that it expected about $450 million in home equity loan losses for the first quarter, and that home equity losses could be double that by the fourth quarter. The filing elaborated on information given to investors during JPMorgan's Investor Day on Wednesday, when bank executives said they expected loan charge-offs to increase sharply in 2008.
October 21, 2012 |
Dear Liz: Please make me feel like I'm doing the right thing. My daughter happens to be very talented academically and athletically. She will graduate from one of the best prep schools in the country. She also plays ice hockey and is being recruited by some of the best schools. However, we are of middle-class means. We were given outstanding aid from her prep school, which made it very affordable. The net price calculators of the colleges recruiting her indicate we won't get nearly the same level of support.
July 16, 2013 |
As if you haven't been scared enough by the projections that most Americans haven't saved enough to maintain their lifestyles as they enter retirement, here's something even more terrifying: Nearly half of all Americans will outlive their assets, dying with practically no money at all. Even more worrisome, that's true even among households that met the traditional standards for secure retirement income. Economic factors and changes in employer pensions and in economic reality have made it much harder to stretch income and assets so they last, especially as people live longer.